Two Great Books – John Piper and Joel Rosenberg

May 12, 2011 at 10:46 am | Posted in Books and Movies | Leave a comment

The Twelfth Imam  by Joel Rosenberg.     This is the first Rosenberg novel I have ever read, but I will certainly look for more.  The book was fast paced and exciting, yet educational and interesting (the reader will learn a lot about Islam).  The main character is a CIA agent working in Iran trying to uncover evidence of nuclear bomb production.   From the recommendations, I thought this might be one of those books that I couldn’t put down from the first chapter.  But Rosenberg goes back an entire generation to introduce his characters and put them in the right historical context.  This makes the beginning of the book very interesting but somewhat slow paced.  Don’t let that fool the reader, once the story begins this becomes one of those page-turner novels.  At the same time don’t skip the first chapters or you will be confused and disappointed in the end.  The best novel I’ve read in a long time.  The only disappointment was some issues that weren’t resolved making me wonder if a sequel is in the plan.  I guess I have to wait for it to come out; in the mean time, I’ll have to find and read The Last Jihad.

Don’t Waste Your Life  by John Piper.  Like other Piper books I’ve read, this was a slow read because it was so full of things to ponder, and like some many Piper books, he keeps the main thing the main thing.  He begins with his own personal testimony of searching for a life passion, and tells of the one he discovered, one to which his life has been true.  “Flowing out from what [God] is in himself comes the purpose for our existence.  God’s passion for his own glory gives birth to ours.  That is the single all-embracing, all-transforming reason for being: a passion to enjoy and display God’s supremacy in all things for the joy of all peoples.” (p.37)

From there each chapter goes into a way that all-embracing passion can be carried out in our lives:  to boast only in the cross; to take risks for eternal things; to prove Christ is more precious than life; to make much of Christ in our daily jobs.  A few of the chapters are especially well done:  chapter 4, “Magnifying Christ Through Pain and Death;” chapter 8, “Making Much of Christ from 8 to 5;” and chapter 9, “The Majesty of Christ in Missions and Mercy.”  In reading this book, I found myself much convicted of trivial waste and much encouraged to live for one eternal passion.

Here are three great quotes.  There were many and deciding which ones to reprint in this brief review was difficult:

The people that make a durable difference in the world are not the people who have mastered many things, but who have been mastered by one great thing. (p. 44)

There are many disciplined unbelievers who avoid the same behaviors Christians do.  Jesus calls us to something far more radical than that.  People who are content with the avoidance ethic generally ask the wrong question about behavior.  They ask, What’s wrong with it?  .  .  .  That kind of question will rarely yield a lifestyle that commends Christ as all-satisfying.  It simply results in a list of don’ts.   .  .  .  The better question to ask is: How will this help me treasure Christ more?  How will this help me show that I do treasure Christ? (p. 118f)

God seldom calls us to an easier life, but always calls us to know more of him and drink more deeply of his sustaining grace.  (p. 178)

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